Skip to main content

Research Project Descriptions for Summer 2022

Projects will be located at different field locations. All students will be based at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, KY, but will travel to field sites often for extended stays. Several projects will be based out of the Lilley Cornett Woods Appalachian Research Station, a remote field station and old-growth forest. The forest is a long-term ecological research site with >40 years of sampling. Several projects will require extensive travel throughout the region to additional sites, including in Daniel Boone National Forest. Individual project descriptions are numbered in sequence, and clustered by the study system. In your application you will have to select three specific projects in which you prefer to conduct research. Your project choices can come from more than one study system.

Forest ecology system (3-4 students): The forests of central Appalachia have experienced anthropogenic and natural disturbances including mining, logging, landslides, disease, and invasive species. Students will conduct research on one of several projects that have direct applications to managing forest habitat. (1) Study the plant ecology of an old-growth forest at Lilley Cornett Woods. (2) Investigate songbird, woodcock, and ruffed grouse populations in managed forest habitats. (3) Examine the population ecology of woodrats, raccoons, and other small mammals. (4) Study a population of copperheads, a venomous snake that occurs in eastern Kentucky. (5) Use tree-ring science to examine disturbance in ridgetop forests.

Mentors: Drs. David Brown, Luke Dodd, Jen Koslow, Maegen Rochner, and Stephen Richter.

Stream and Wetland ecology system (3-4 students): The streams of Appalachia have high biodiversity, affect downstream dynamics, and are vulnerable to disturbance. Kentucky also has a rich diversity of wetlands, including Appalachian ridgetop wetlands that provide unique and critical habitat to amphibians, bats, and other organisms. Students will conduct research in one of several projects in this system, which collectively address the role of disturbances, such as from mining, and subsequent restoration, on different trophic levels of stream organisms. (6) Study bat activity at constructed and natural ridgetop wetlands. (7) Analyze the aquatic insect assemblages of stream and wetland restoration sites. (8) Use LiDAR and ERT instrumentation to study geological features such as wetlands, caves, and backcountry trails. (9) Investigate how mine-related stream disturbance affects antibiotic resistance of E. coli. (10) Compare the vegetative communities of constructed and natural ridgetop wetlands. (11) Research amphibian populations in streams and wetlands.(12) Use field methods to study the ecology of a crayfish community in a stream that is undergoing disturbance and restoration.

Mentors: Drs.Haley Cabaniss, David Hayes, Jason MarionStephen Richter, Kelly Watson, and John White.

Open /*deleted href=#openmobile*/